Osteoarthritis cause is multi factorial. Different factors involved in the development of the disease include
- Joint factors that include joint and muscle diseases, developmental disorders and injuries.
Among all the osteoarthritis cause Age is the most important factor. Below the age of 40 this disease is rare. Beyond the age of 40
the prevalence and incidence of this disease goes on rising with increasing in age.
With increasing age cartilage becomes less responsive to loading and there is less
synthesis of matrix. This causes cartilage to become thin and more susceptible to damage. Muscles become weak, nerve impulses slow down, ligaments are
weak and stretched. All these factors contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
Obesity is another important factor that leads to the development of osteoarthritis. With an increase in weight the amount of load passing across
the joint increases this leads to a faster wear and tear. Obesity not only contributes to the development of the disease in the weight bearing joints such
as the knee and hip but also increases the likely hood of osteoarthritis in the joints of the hand.
Other important osteoarthritis cause are occupations requiring repetitive use of certain joints. For example miners are at risk of developing
osteoarthritis of the knees and spine, farmers have a increased risk of hip osteoarthritis. People doing fine work develop the disease in the hand.
runners have increased chances of knee and hip osteoarthritis. It as been found that recreational runners too have increased risk of hip disease.
Genetic factors also contribute to the development of the disease particularly hip and hand disease. This factor is less important in knee disease.
Joint factors are also responsible for the development of the disease. These include
- Change in the anatomy of the joint leading to uneven distribution of load. This can be seen in disorders such as
congenital dislocation of the hip, perthes disease, avascular necrosis and joint injuries.
- Injury to ligaments supporting the joint can increase the risk of osteoarthritis by causing abnormal loading and
mobility of the joint.
- Muscular weakness as in poliomylitis can lead to abnormal loading of the joint and subsequent osteoarthritis.
- Sensory loss as in diabetes mellitus, leprosy and tabes dorsalis causes loss of mechanoreceptor function leading to joint damage and
- Infections of the joint can cause damage to cartilage, ligaments and even bone leading to osteoarthritis of the involved joint.
So you see that many factors are involved in the development of this disease. Some of these factors are reversible, some are treatable. Obesity and occupational
hazards can be controlled whereas age, injury and genetic factors are beyond our control.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will reduction in weight be helpful after one has developed osteoarthritis?
Yes, weight reduction will be helpful because it will cause a decrease in the load transmitted across the knee and hip joints and this will result in less pain.
Can long hours of tapping on the keyboard lead to osteoarthritis?
Yes it can contribute to the development of arthritis on the joints of the hand.
I hope you found the above information useful. If you have any query you can ask me at the contact me page.
This page was last updated on 10th June 2009.
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